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Second Effort To Pay Off In John Monash Stakes

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Second Effort is an aptly named horse on the back of what we’ve seen in a remarkable winter campaign.

The Clinton McDonald trained gelding certainly showed plenty of ability early in his career but the last two months have been a whole new level all together.

After being freshened at the end of March Second Effort returned at the start of May and has had four starts.

It’s been the same result every time, win by two lengths, win by four lengths, win by two lengths and win by two and a half lengths.

While the grade he’s been running against hasn’t been too impressive, he’s boosted his career stats to a healthy 13 starts for six wins and four minors.

Tomorrow he’ll finally get his chance at a higher level when he runs in the Listed Sir John Monash Stakes at Caulfield Racecourse.

The field he runs into is a big jump however the way he’s been winning he’ll still take plenty of beating.

McDonald says the leap in performance stems back to a trip he took to Oakbank over the Autumn.

It was his first venture to the jumps circuit and the main aim was to watch Grizz in the Yalumba Classic (he finished fourth).

He says the major benefit though was a chat with veteran horseman John Wheeler which resulted in a shakeup of the program for Second Effort.

“He’s in a really happy place at the moment,” McDonald said.

“The turning point for him has been these big day yards we’ve got here at Caulfield.

“After dinner with John Wheeler over at Oakbank and watching his horses I decided to put him out with a couple of other horses.

“It seems to have just relaxed him and switched him off. He loves going out there and it seems to have been a real turning point for the horse.”

Three of his last four wins have been on a slow track with the fourth rated a heavy.

Caulfield is currently in slow territory but is expected to sneak into the dead ranges when racing begins tomorrow.

Second Effort has never won on dead or better but to be fair he hasn’t encountered a dry track since his form turnaround.

Having said that it’s still a case on the wetter the better for McDonald as he faces a seasoned Listed  grade field.
“If it gets to a dead (5) that would be fine. His win the other day at Moonee Valley was virtually a dead track.

“He’s gone from a 0-72 at Warrnambool in May to a Listed race in the Monash at Caulfield in that short period of time.

“He’s on an upward spiral and normally when horses can do that and keep measuring up to every stepping point they are given they are going places.”

The barrier draw was friendly to the gelding with gate four and he’ll have the ride of Chris Symons.

Second Effort is currently the market favourite however it’s a tight affair across a small and competitive Sir John Monash Stakes field.

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